Martinique Culture

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The Capital

You know the present-day capital of Martinique is Fort-de-France, but did you know that until 1902 the capital the city of St. Pierre? Saint-Pierre was a very rich and glamorous city, known as le Petit Paris of the West Indies. But on the morning of May 8, 1902, Mount Pelee exploded, and in three minutes the entire city of 30,000 people was destroyed. Only one person, a prisoner protected by his cell walls, survived the eruption.

Fishing boats

Among the most beautiful sights in Martinique are the yoles rodes, or gommiers, the traditional fishing boats that are used for racing. People come from all over the world to watch the "nautical ballet" of these bright;y painted boats that are unique to Martinique.

Language

In Martinique, people speak French and creole, a mixture of French and African languages with some Spanish, English, and Portuguese words.

Music and Dance

Music and dance are an integral part of life in Martinique. A popular saying is that in Martinique tout finit par une chanson. Much of the music arises from the time the first Africans were brought as slaves to work in the sugar cane fields. The rhythms of the songs and the steps of the dances they created are still in existence today in the biguine, marzurka, and the internationally popular zouk.
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